River flow: 3200 cfs
Water Temp: 58 F
Water Clarity: Off color due to lake turnover, but definitely fishable.
Moss and grass Factor: Grass is becoming less and less of an issue on the Bighorn River, but it’s still tough fishing the further downstream an angler gets.
The lake has turned over which causes the water to become off color, but the fish are still eating. The water clarity gets a little better each day as the lake settles out again. Water temperatures are dropping and the river flow has remained consistent. Grass is still a factor, however there is less and less of it everyday. Browns are getting their fall spawning colors and getting aggressive on the streamers. The great news is that the larger than average Bighorn River trout are giving anglers the fight of a lifetime. If they can keep them on the hook for more than the first few seconds!
Nymphs: Big Orange Scud, Sow Bugs, Baetis Nymphs and snails
Method: 8-foot 3x or stronger leader to 2 bb’s or a 3o size chunk of tungsten putty. 1ft or so to the first fly and1ft or so to the second fly on your 4x tippet.
Size 12-18 Baetis Nymphs
Size 12-18 Bead Head Pink Soft Hackle
Size 12-18 Carpet Sow Bug Gray and Tan
Size 12-18 Eddie Vetter both tan and grey
Size 16-18 Pink Soft Hackle
Size 12-16 Scuds (natural, pink, orange and olive)
Size 18-22 Pseudo Nymph (yellow and tan)
The fish are primarily eating sub surface right now and are a little harder to target. Here are a few tips to help you fins them in the fall fishing waters of the Bighorn River. The majority of the trout are eating on the millions of bugs that thrive in the grass growing subsurface. Some of the bugs are washed into the heavy waters of the center river. The Majority of the bugs, particularly scuds are swimming and tumbling in and out of the grass in the medium speed water between the heavy center river current and the grass line. This water is a little tougher to manage a drift in so make sure the mending game is at it’s best. If you can get a good drift in this medium speed water it is almost certain that an angler can benefit and catch some large, healthy well fed trout.
Dry Flies: Pseudo nymphs
Method: 9-foot 5x leader to the top fly. 1ft or so leader to the second fly.
Size 16-18 Pseudo spinners
Size 16-18 PMD Dry Flies
Dries are a little harder to come by on the Bighorn River right now, but on the right days and in the right spots fish are eating on the surface. Trico’s are pretty much done, but there are still lots of Pseudo Mayflies around in the afternoons. Keep a steady eye on heavy seam lines and tail outs. Fish are still eating the occasional PMD’s or PED’s hatching. The Pseudo is such a small dry fly so run a two fly setup with a bigger PMD or PED in front.
Method: 5 foot heavy leader with a loop knot to the streamer
Colors: Black and Olive
As it is every fall on the Bighorn there are a few more cloudy stormy days than in the summer season. This sounds like a cold Montana day, but in fact it’s the perfect storm for a red hot streamer day. The browns are getting more aggressive and the males are starting to put on their fall colors tuxedo in preparation for the big spawn dance. In the right weather the streamer fishing is better than the nymphing.
Ducks have begun to show up in the Bighorn River valley. Swarms of mallards have been spotted around the fields. The widgeon have begun to show up on the afterbay. Geese have not made their big entrance to the valley. They love to announce their presence. It will be no surprise when they make their big entrance. Not many ducks are using the river. The many cattle reservoirs surrounding the Bighorn River have not froze and provide safe refuge for the waterfowl. Until they freeze or we get another cold front the river will remain relatively stagnant of ducks and geese.
Happy Fall fishing and bird hunting from Forrester’s Bighorn River Resort!